I’ve been warning about this for several years now, and it has finally happened. The state has taken a child away from parents who refuse to consent to their daughter receiving cross-sex hormones for gender identity transition. That was last week in a courtroom in Ohio. It could happen here in MA tomorrow.

This is what inevitably happens when child welfare and legal systems treat hormones and surgery for gender confusion as non-elective, “medically necessary” procedures.

From CNN.com, February 16, 2018, “Judge gives grandparents custody of Ohio transgender teen”:

A Hamilton County, Ohio, judge on Friday gave custody of a transgender teen to his grandparents rather than his parents, allowing them to make medical decisions regarding his transition.

The parents didn’t want the teen, a 17-year-old who identifies as male, to undergo hormone treatment and refused to call him by his chosen name, triggering suicidal feelings, according to court testimony. The parents wanted custody in order to make medical decisions for the teen and prohibit the treatment that his medical team had recommended.

…A team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where the teen has been treated since 2016, advised the court that he should start treatment as soon as possible to decrease his suicide risk.

The parents’ attorney had argued that the child was not “even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time.” A county prosecuting attorney argued that the parents wanted to stop the treatment because it violated their religious beliefs.

In the custody decision, Hendon said the parents will have visitation rights and are “encouraged to work toward a reintegration of the child into the extended family.”…

Reintegration, that is, if parents drop their beliefs, grounded in both religion and biology, that their child doesn’t need to be surgically and chemically altered – and in fact could be harmed by such interventions.

The Ohio judge has advice for lawmakers. From the CNN report:

“She also encouraged Ohio lawmakers to create legislation giving judges a framework in which they can evaluate a patient’s right to gender therapy. ‘What is clear from the testimony presented in this case and the increasing worldwide interest in transgender care is that there is certainly a reasonable expectation that circumstances similar to the one at bar are likely to repeat themselves,’ she wrote. ‘That type of legislation would give a voice and a pathway to youth similarly situated as (the teen) without attributing fault to the parents and involving them in protracted litigation which can and does destroy a family unit.’”

A patient’s “right to gender therapy” isn’t exactly what’s at stake here. We know that from the attempted passage of talk-therapy bans in Massachusetts and in other states. If the MA Therapy Ban bill passes, a licensed therapist who is working with a minor experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria might say something that the minor or his parent interpret as being less than supportive of the attraction or dysphoria. In that case, the therapist could lose professional licensure.

No, the “right” the judge is talking about – and the right that the therapy ban promoters are talking about – is the right for children and adolescents to have “gender reassignment,” even if that means publicly-funded surgery and hormonal treatment given against the will of their parents.

What makes this case so frightening for MA parents is that the current version of the MA Therapy Ban bill would legally classify the very type of Christian counseling the parents in OH were seeking for their daughter as “child abuse.” That means that if this bill passes, the scenario playing out in OH will almost certainly, and far more easily, play out in our own Commonwealth.

But it likely won’t stop there. Once a talk therapy ban is in place for licensed therapists, speech regulation for teachers, who are in regular contact with children and are licensed by the state, is not a stretch. Telling a gender-confused six-year-old boy, “I like you exactly as you are,” could be interpreted by a parent as unsupportive of the boy’s desire to be treated as a girl.

Do we really want to go there? Of course not. But we have to work to prevent it. So, please join me at the State House on March 21st for our Annual Pro-Family Lobby Day, and tell your State Rep or State Senator face to face that you want them to defend the family, not eviscerate your parental rights.

We’re also working to prepare for the inevitable legal fights in family court that will arise when a case like this comes to MA. If you or anyone you know has had their parental rights threatened because of a sexual orientation or gender identity issue, please let me know. We will do our best to help. No parent should have to stand alone between their child and a hostile state bureaucracy.

For our families,